“Hraparak” says that opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian’s decision not to have another shot at the presidency has created “a new situation” in Armenia. “Some have concluded that the Ter-Petrosian era is over,” writes the paper. “Political scientists and historians will evaluate that era and will pay tribute to the phenomenal personality of Armenia’s first president and his undeniable role in the history of our country. But now is not the time to make historical evaluations. The only thing the HAK leader can be blamed for is the unforgivable delay in the announcement of his decision. If his announcement had been made months ago the situation within the opposition camp would have been totally different today.” The paper believes that the HAK’s “flirt” with Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) has damaged the country.
“The Armenian National Congress (HAS) has become an orphan,” declares “Hayots Ashkhar.” The paper says that Ter-Petrosian not only steered clear of the presidential race but also “finally retired from politics.” It scoffs at the main stated reason for his decision: his old age. “It turns out that Ter-Petrosian spent half a year silently pondering his age,” it says mockingly.
Grigor Harutiunian, a senior member of the HAK, tells “Zhamanak” that the Armenian opposition should boycott the presidential election because it will not be free and fair. “Both national and local elections show that there is no [genuine] election in our country,” he says. “It would be right if nobody participated [in the upcoming] election in this situation.” Harutiunian claims that the authorities have grossly inflated the number of eligible voters living in Armenia to be able to carry out vote rigging.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” carries an interview with Hrant Bagratian, another HAK figure who intends to run for president. “I consider my chances good,” says Bagratian. Asked whether he can launch the kind of a “popular movement” that was led by Ter-Petrosian in 2007-2008, he replies, “I will try. But I don’t consider that realistic due to a lack of time. I believe that my primary task is to tell and explain the people how our country should be built.”